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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner Resigns; District Attorney: Oklahoma Thrill Killing Not Hate Crime; New Images Of Alleged Chemical Attack In Syria; Manhunt Underway For Suspect In WWII Vet Killing; Fans Turn On Affleck As The Next Batman
Aired August 23, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Ashleigh Banfield in for Erin Burnett.
We're continuing our breaking news. Have you ever watched a long resignation in progress? Because that's what you're doing now. The San Diego mayor, Bob Filner, with the city council giving what can only be described as a bit of an off-the-rails departure. It is remarkable, the details. I'm just going to let this speak for itself. Listen in.
JAN GOLDSMITH, CITY ATTORNEY, SAN DIEGO: So, I'm going to go through the terms. I'll explain them. They're really not all that complicated. And we'll then have some comments from the council members. It's up on the screen, and there's also a hand-out in which I've tried to summarize what this is about. First what this settlement is not about. If any, there are no -- this does not involve resolution of any criminal charges, if any. For those who might want punishment for alleged acts, it's up to the attorney general's office, the U.S. Attorney's Office. My office will not be involved obviously.
We've recused ourselves, but that's who represents the people of the state of California. We have not affected that at all. It doesn't involve money owed to the city for any alleged or, if any, unauthorized expenses or claims made based upon conduct not in the capacity as mayor. As I mentioned earlier, Mayor Filner has already resigned effective 5:00 p.m. on August 30.
The city has accepted the signed resolution, which is in the possession of the city clerk. She also has possession of the fully signed settlement agreement. I'm going to go into some terms having to do with some claims, but before I do that, I'm going to explain a few things on the law --
BANFIELD: You're watching the city attorney in San Diego right now, Jan Goldsmith who is outlining now what the terms are going to be for the resignation on August the 30th of the mayor. And let me just say this, no admission he did anything wrong. No criminal issues resolved here, so this could still be an active investigation with the U.S. attorney and also the district attorney.
But I think as Kyung Lah has been reporting, this has been a circus from the beginning. You've been watching as this has been playing out in San Diego. I asked you earlier, could you describe this as an off-the-rails moment?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Bob Filner is known in San Diego as someone who is unpredictable. He's been unpredictable through this whole thing, Ashleigh. Yes. It was quite extraordinary watching him speak to the city council and basically say he never sexually harassed anyone while there are 18 women out there --
BANFIELD: So, why is he resigning? Why is he resigning if he said I did nothing wrong and I love the city?
LAH: He's saying it's a political coup. What he's saying he gave them ammunition through misunderstandings and allowed his political foes to take over the city of San Diego and that is really what's extraordinary here. He doesn't seem aware of the charges that are out there. These very serious charges that these 18 women have brought forward publicly, and there's still a lawsuit out there, so that may be really what's behind all this.
BANFIELD: I was just about to ask you, look, Jan Goldsmith, the city attorney can go on and on about what the terms are for this resignation, and he can say our terms are our terms and they have nothing to do with criminal procedure and he didn't mention civil procedure at least that I heard. Right, one lawsuit, how many others might be expected?
LAH: We don't know. We only know there's currently one lawsuit that has been filed against the mayor as well as the city of San Diego. And what the city attorney is trying to do there is try to protect the taxpayers from any sort of, you know, win on Filner's part. He wants to try to protect the taxpayers from that but also try to, you know, protect the city. But what's really curious here is that perhaps this is all about that. It's all about the legal maneuverings for Filner in order to try to avoid being sued altogether so he doesn't have to be on the hook either.
BANFIELD: OK, sex aside, how about just the brass tax of the finance and the problems on his corporate card, because there have been some questionable charges, at questionable places that once again link back to sex, but that's still there and that's still a big problem.
LAH: And that's actually something that isn't black and white. What we do know is that there is a criminal investigation going on in connection to the sexual harassment charges, but there are also these charges that he has on his city credit card, some questionable charges that, you know, that's the reason that they're getting rid of him. That's what they're pointing to is this particular section of the charter, that's something in black and white that they can lean on. That's still out there, Ashleigh, that's still being investigated by the state attorney general.
BANFIELD: I'm sorry we weren't able to air live what he was saying just before this program began, because it's almost pure comedy how he was reacting in the city council room. I said off the rails because it's the first thing that came to my mind, but you're the one that has to cover this. Kyung Lah, thank you for your coverage since the beginning.
The other top story that we've been following tonight, the breaking news, an Oklahoma District Attorney weighing in just moments ago and saying that the murder of 23-year-old Christopher Lane was not a hate crime. That baseball player from Australia was randomly shot last Friday while just out for a jog. Three teenagers, two of them African-Americans, one of them a white teenager, have been arrested in connection with this senseless murder.
And the police say that it came to be they told him, they told them that Christopher was killed because they were bored. Earlier I spoke with Gene Brown who's the mayor of Duncan where this happened, and I asked him what he thought about the D.A.'s decision not to charge this murder as a hate crime.
MAYOR GENE BROWN, DUNCAN, OKLAHOMA: I didn't think it was a hate crime at first. I just think it was some bad choices on some young people that they made on someone that was visiting our city.
BANFIELD: However, as, you know, the details, Mayor Brown, became more evident of the teenagers' background, one of the tweets that came from a teenager was pretty specific, saying that 90 percent of white people are nasty #hatethem. Well, I understand it was not particularly proximate to the actual time, but it did give people a lot of pause. Did it not give you pause as to why a white victim may have been chosen?
BROWN: Not really. I didn't think about it in that manner. I was just shocked that it happened in our city. One of those things that, you know, we all was surprised that it happened. I was more concerned about the young man's family and what they would think about our city than that.
BANFIELD: You know, of course, I'm not besmirching the work of the police here, mayor brown, but I am still curious, in the instant where the Trayvon Martin death brought out, you know, hundreds of thousands of marchers because primarily of the actions of the civil rights leaders, is that not perhaps need here as well?
BROWN: No. I wouldn't say it was needed here. It was a sad situation. It happened in our community. And I think everybody that lives here wish it would not have happened in our community regardless of what race of the person to be. I think that we're more concerned about just making sure that everything is taken care of for that family and they get all of the things that they need in order to get him home safely and take the other loved ones.
BANFIELD: On another side of this crime, the sister of one of the suspects, James Edwards, spoke with this program and said that her brother was connected and affiliated in some way with gang activity. Not suggesting he was part of a gang, but that he was certainly connected to gang members. Duncan is such a small place and it has such a low crime rate. Do you think perhaps there may be a gang issue if not a gang problem in your town?
BROWN: You know, I'm not naive enough to think there might not be any here, but I can say this that we've been real blessed to -- we've had real control of that. And we have officers that look in to that and look at every incident that happened in order to follow through and make sure that we do not have. And that's not to say that something might slip in on us, but I don't think we have a real problem with that. If we do, we definitely need to look into it.
BANFIELD: Mayor Brown, thank you for your time and thank you for being a part of the program. We appreciate your comments.
BROWN: And thank you. We appreciate the opportunity.
BANFIELD: And still to come the Syrian government continuing to say it did not use chemical weapons on its people, but I'll tell you what, that is not the evidence that we're seeing in a whole new set of disturbing videos emerging from that country. We're going to show you those pictures tonight. We're also going to tell you what the White House plans to do about this crisis.
And also another seemingly random murder, this one in Washington State. A teenager's under arrest but another one is still on the run, out there now. The victim was a World War II veteran.
And then a better story for you, a panda just born actually moments ago. We're still watching from our live cameras. Take a look at that. I know, a panda, please? But do you know what, pandas are big money, pandas are important and the birth of a pan day is a big deal. We'll have that later on in the program.
BANFIELD: Some simply horrific images are coming out of Syria, bad enough that I need to give you a warning that what you are about to see is very graphic. What you're going to look at is the immediate aftermath of an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government on its own people this week. Bashar Al Assad's government is denying using chemical weapons, but a United Nations inspection team is on the ground, just so hard to look at this. It is on the ground there, and it is trying to get on site to do its own investigation.
The images were obtained by ITV News from a Syrian journalist whom ITV News describes as credible. These are new images, again, and they come as the United States president has some brand-new plans when it comes to what we're going to do about Syria, possible strike? Maybe even the use of cruise missiles on Syria?
Our Chris Lawrence at the Pentagon is live with this. What more do we know about this? I mean, how many more images do we need to see before we have a concrete plan? What's the president saying?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's up to the president. Here at the Pentagon they simply present the options and let the president decide how much risk he wants to take and which way he wants to go. They've just completed probably the most comprehensive update of those options in months. I'm told that they looked at a reviewed and renewed the list of potential targets for air strikes in Syria, possibly with the use of cruise missiles.
We know that the U.S. Navy recently added one more destroyer to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, normally there are three. Right now temporarily there will be four in that area. All of them have the capability to fire Tomahawk missiles, which are fired long range and used specifically to attack targets on land from the sea. We know from officials who have been telling us that Assad's forces are moving and they wanted to give the president the most current and comprehensive list of targets and options as we head into a very big time for decision making, actually.
BANFIELD: Chris, that may assuage those who say it's time, it's time, the problem with time is these things are happening. This isn't the first allegation of the chemical attack since a year ago when the red line was drawn, meaning over the red line and we may step in, so what do we know about the timing, the timeline? Is it shorter? Is it tighter now in terms of a response or a rapid response?
LAWRENCE: It's a good question. I mean, that red line has been more squiggly than straight, if you want to look at it in those terms. The president has sort of backed off that firm line that he initially drew in the sand of what it would take to spur U.S. action, the use of chemical weapons. Now, they have not made final determination on this attack from just a couple days ago, but listen to what the president told our own Chris Cuomo on "NEW DAY."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it, do we have the coalition to make it work, and, you know, those are considerations that we have to take into account --
CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR, CNN'S "NEW DAY": Do you believe you've seen enough?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, this latest event is something that we've got to take a look at.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAWRENCE: Look, Ashleigh, you and I talked about this earlier today. Legally there are really only two clear options. You've got to get the U.N. Security Council mandate or it's got to be an act of self-defense, neither of those two likely to apply. But then we move into more of a moral ground, which is used in Kosovo, they didn't have a U.N. mandate there either, but the nations determined that more good could come than harm by taking action and they did go in. And ultimately sort of history judged that action to be just. That's where we may be heading into this direction if there is action. It may not be on strict legal lines. It may be more in the morally just column.
BANFIELD: Yes, he's not kidding when there's a lot of law to consider. You're talking about international law, the world court, the Geneva Conventions.
BANFIELD: And that is tangibly stuff, Chris Lawrence at the Pentagon, thank you.
LAWRENCE: You're welcome.
BANFIELD: Now to another developing story, actually, another breaking story in Washington State. Police are now looking for a teenager, and there's his picture. He is on the run. And he's suspected in that brutal beating death of an 88-year-old Delbert Belton in Spokane, Washington. You might know this story as the World War II vet who was found dead in a parking lot because of serious head injuries. Police say two teenagers are suspected of killing this 88- year-old and may have chosen him at random. One suspect has already been arrested and charged with first-degree murder and robbery. Alina Machado is OUTFRONT with this story.
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Police in Spokane say Delbert Belton was brutally beaten and left for dead outside the Eagles Lodge II in Washington State. The crime is chilling and his family is in disbelief.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a terrible way to have to die.
MACHADO: The 88-year-old's daughter-in-law, Barbara, was shocked when she got a call from doctors who treated the World War II veteran.
BOBBIE BELTON, DAUGHTER-IN-LAW OF DELBERT BELTON (via telephone): They beat him so badly in the face that he was bleeding and they could not stop the bleeding.
MACHADO: Police believe two 16-year-olds are responsible for the violent attack. They've already arrested and charged one of them with first-degree murder and robbery. On Friday they released this wanted poster for the second suspect, 16-year-old Keenan Adams Kenard.
BELTON: What did they think they were going to get from this man? He didn't drive a big fancy car. He didn't dress, you know, in expensive clothes. He didn't have a lot of money.
MACHADO: Belton was a regular at the lodge. He joined in May. Friends there knew him as Shorty for his short stature. They say he loved to dance and described him as kind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was always kind of there for me when I needed him, joke back and forth, you know, we were always having fun.
MACHADO: Wednesday night was supposed to be one of those fun nights for Belton, who was parked outside waiting for a friend to arrive. He planned to play pool, but he never made it inside the club. Police believe the attack was random. A memorial now sits where the elderly man's life was taken. His family has this to say to his killers --
BELTON: Why did you do this? You know, what motivates you to such a horrendous thing to an old man?
MACHADO: Police are saying this was an unprovoked attack. They are also saying that robbery appears to be a motive. Right now, they are focused on finding that 16-year-old, and Ashleigh, they are hoping the public will help them.
BANFIELD: Now that the photo's out, I'm sure the public will want to see some justice when it comes to that young man. Alina Machado, thank you for that.
Still to come, a rapist impregnates his victim and then demands the visitation rights to the baby. If you can believe it, it's possible to do this in 31 states in this country. And a woman who is in that very situation is going to come and talk about it tonight.
And Ben Affleck was named as the new Batman and people are popping off online. Why is everybody so freaked out?
Also a couple of guys reel in a fish this big! This is a good fish story, a heck of a fish story. It's coming up next. You can't miss it!
BANFIELD: Holy backlash, Batman, I've been wanting to say that all day. American is cray, cray over the announcement that Ben Affleck will be the next caped crusader. In fact, petitions have been launched asking that Warner Bros. dump him, seriously. Does all this outrage add up?
Certainly this has not been the first time that casting decisions have been hated. Remember when Daniel Craig was cast as James Bond? People complained, no, he's too blond. Seriously, OUTFRONT tonight, Medialte, Joe Concha, a TV columnist and you, my friend, your head has popped right off on this one. What's the problem?
JOE CONCHA, MEDIALTE: The usual shortsightedness from the executives that make this sort of decisions. Ben Affleck is the hot hand right now. This is true. He was responsible for "Argo" and he starred in it by the way. He did "The Town" the year before that. Here's the problem that whenever he plays a man's man, he plays a superhero, it fails miserably. You remember Tom Clancy and the Jack Ryan series and it started with Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford.
BANFIELD: Loved it.
CONCHA: And Affleck took it over and it died after one move visit. He did "Daredevil" with his wife Jennifer Garner, every action movie gets a sequel, no sequel, done.
BANFIELD: But this isn't why people are freaking out. Isn't it more the look and the personality?
CONCHA: He comes across kind of soft, that's what I mean by a man's man. Let's put it this way. There was a likable guy in Hollywood, good looking guy around 40 that played Batman, do you remember who that was, George Clooney.
BANFIELD: Yes, do I ever.
CONCHA: It nearly killed the series. That particular film in the series was not only one of the worst movies of all-time behind maybe "Caddyshack II" and "Jiggly" and Christian Bale brings it back. You never want to be the guy that follows the guy and Bale was the guy.
BANFIELD: So was that the problem with Clooney followed the guy or was it the script?
CONCHA: It was George Clooney couldn't carry it.
BANFIELD: People are forgiving and eventually if I search my mind they gave Keaton a break and they gave, you know, 007 a break as well.
CONCHA: If that carries the day, we'll be all right.
BANFIELD: If it carries the day.
CONCHA: If your goal is to make $300 million, that's fine. He's got to carry the day for three movies. It's a trilogy. He's 41 years old and I thought they would go younger.
BANFIELD: The other guy, Superman in the movie, I love that they are combining Superman and Batman, I hope I didn't offend a bunch of people.
CONCHA: You did.
BANFIELD: Henry Cavill is like gold and his last movie brought in $650 million, does it matter who's going to be on the TV or on the big screen beside Henry Cavill?
CONCHA: The last Batman made $1 billion.
BANFIELD: Wow, it matters.
CONCHA: It absolutely matters because it's not just one, remember, you got to make $3 billion here. Here's the bottom line, though, by putting Affleck in, it almost guarantees due to a deal with the devil that was made probably in blood when they got the script for "Good Will Hunting" that Matt Damon has to play Robin, it's a way to bridge to Matt Damon.
BANFIELD: You would be a good Batman. CONCHA: A young Michael Keaton.
BANFIELD: Concha, nice to see you. Finally in person I get to meet you. Bat Batman!
CONCHA: Good to see you.
BANFIELD: Good to see you.
Still to come, the Fort Hood shooter guilty across the board, he killed 13 people, but is the death penalty really on the table when you think about it? Think deeply about it.
A rapist impregnates his victim and wants to see the baby. It happens in more states than you think and a woman in that situation is going to explain what it's like to be the rape victim and have to face this person for decades.
Then we'll take you to a much better story, the Washington Zoo, this is the story tonight, the reel cam, I love it, a brand-new panda cub and do you know something, a second one could be on the way. This is good stuff, guys.
BANFIELD: All right. An update for you on Paula Deen, she's off the hook -- more or less -- because the sexual harassment lawsuit that was filed by a former employee against her has now been dismissed and really dismissed. All of this comes just days after we reported that the racial discrimination part of that civil suit was also dismissed.
While Deen is cleared in the eyes of the law, it still remains to be seen whether she can make a comeback. Because after all, she did admit in a deposition for this lawsuit that she used the N-word, quote, "a very long time ago". But after that revelation the food network declined to renew her contract, though. They do tell us that she's still appearing on her son's cooking show which the network does not pay her for directly. She lost a lot of endorsement deals as well. But there you have it, the suit is gone.
This is awful. A fast-moving wildfire in California has nearly doubled in size and now very sad to report it's breached the grounds of Yosemite National Park. The Rim Fire has now burned nearly 106,000 acres and that is up from just 53,000 a day earlier. Exponential. The flames have reached about eight miles into Yosemite. The national park is visited by nearly 4 million visitors last year alone.
The team on this one: more than 1,800 firefighters battling it and it's only 2 percent contained at this point. And get this, nationally, it's hard to believe, there have been more than 33,000 wildfires this year, covering more than 3.4 million acres. So you're not alone if you think you're hearing a lot about it in the news.
And now an OUTFRONT update on Derrick Estell. Ring a bell? That guy is the one who escaped from an Arkansas jail last month and you remember the video where he's talking on the phone, allegedly with his mom and then suddenly, he just hops through a window.
Yes. A window! It's crazy! And there was a waiting car, too -- how convenient.
But he's finally been captured. Not before being on the run for 27 days, though, and his mom was in big trouble for this, too, they arrested her. Sheriff's deputy tells us that he was found 530 miles away in Santa Rosa, Florida, along with the woman who was allegedly driving the getaway car. And that is not his mom. That's that getaway driver.
So, there you go. Crime doesn't pay.
OUTFRONT has learned that the Bank of America has tapped a senior group within the company to examine what led to the tragic death of an intern earlier this week. A 21-year-old student named Moritz Erhardt was found unconscious at his London living quarters after working for 72 hours without sleep at the bank.
It should be noted that his cause of death has not yet been released, but the bank is saying that the group is going to review all aspects of this tragedy. They're also going to listen to employees at all levels to help them learn from this incident.
And this just in, some pretty exciting news from the national zoo in Washington, D.C. Mei Xiang, the giant panda, has given birth to a brand-new panda cub. The birth just happened a short time ago, in fact, and it was all on a live shot from the panda cam at the zoo.
We're bringing you these images and we're trying to see the cub. It is always hard. It all depends on how the mom is handling things after the birth as to whether you see that cub or not. But that is the live camera.
OUTFRONT tonight: our Rene Marsh is actually at the zoo. It's such a big deal and I always say this because pandas are actually very, very popular, they mean a lot for zoos and they are so difficult when it comes to having offspring in captivity. In fact, it was a bit of a sad story with this panda last year.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, you know, it's Friday night. We're at the zoo, the National Zoo, that can only mean one thing, and it's because of all the excitement surrounding the birth of this baby panda here.
Now, here's what I can tell you about it, Ashleigh, they just briefed us. It's so tiny. It's about the size of a butter stick there. And we don't know the sex at this point. They say they may not know the sex for another two to three weeks and, of course, they won't name it for about another 100 days.
But I'll tell you everyone excited. Spoke to a group of small girls visiting the zoo. They're excited as well to hear the news, so here's what happened on the panda cam. We saw the mother, Mei Xiang. As soon as she gave bird, she scooped up her little baby and she started cradling it, and we did hear that the baby is squealing a lot. At this point seems to be in good condition, seems to be healthy.
And then there's some other potential other good news, Ashleigh, perhaps another baby panda on the way. They are observing and seeing if a twin may also be born.
So, take a listen to what zoo officials told us just a short time ago about the possibility of another baby panda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENNIS KELLY, DIRECTOR, THE NATIONAL ZOO: There is a chance, a 15 percent chance, that a second cub will be born, a twin will be born. So, we'll be watching for the next five or six hours to see if a second cub is born.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARSH: All right, so, you know, there's a 50 percent chance, but, again, this birth happened. The first birth happened around 5:30. So, about two hours ago, with each hour that goes by, the chances of a twin obviously that decreases. So, they're waiting, watching, of course, we'll let you know.
You can tune in to the panda cam to find out if there's another one on the way -- Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: I hope that panda's OK, because she lost that cub last year really soon after the birth from complications. But we did have twin pandas born in Atlanta in July, so maybe we'll have another set of twins.
Nice to see you, Rene, thank you for doing the report for us last minute. Do appreciate it.
So, this may come as absolutely no surprise to you or maybe anybody else in the courtroom but that Ft. Hood shooter guilty, guilty across the board, in fact. A military jury has convicted Army Major Nidal Hasan of 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in the 2009 shooting rampage. Hasan had admitted to the massacre of his fellow soldiers saying he did it to protect the Taliban and its leaders.
Our Ed Lavandera has been following this trial from the very beginning.
What was it like in the courtroom? How did people react to this?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ashleigh, it's been an intense day for them when the verdict was being read, family members when those guilty verdicts came down, family members that have been inside the courtroom for the duration, which is now almost three weeks long, this trial, crying quietly, hugging each other, they were told by the judge no loud outbursts or anything like that, but, you know, you can see them clutching each other.
We've spoken to other family members of victims and survivors who weren't able to be inside the courtroom and they talked about how much emotion they felt even though they knew these guilty verdicts were coming down, it was still very much an emotional day.
As for Nidal Hasan, he just sat there stoically, almost no reaction, stroking his beard and looking at the soldier that read the verdict. That was it.
BANFIELD: So, what about this whole notion that there is still this death/life phase and that this jury needs to determine whether he lives or dies for these crimes? It's no secret he wants to die. He has said he wants to be a martyr. What are the chances that they may actually decide, let's not make it easy on him?
LAVANDERA: Well, you know, only those 13 jurors will, you know, know had exactly how they're going to approach this, but this will begin again on Monday when prosecutors will be calling up family members of the victims, 13 in all, including three survivors that were wounded and they will begin making their statements in the punishment phase.
It's not clear exactly what Nidal Hasan is going to do, but I've spoken with several family members throughout the day today, and it's interesting, very much weighing on their mind is this whole notion of whether or not the death sentence would make Nidal Hasan in the view of some around the world a martyr.
And because of that, I spoke with the husband of one survivor who said he thought the death sentence -- death penalty would be too lenient of a sentence, that because of that issue of him wanting to become a martyr, he'd much rather see him rot away in prison for the rest of his life. So we have spoken with several family members who have talked about that and expressed some reservation. It's impossible to paint a broad brush over what so many people would want to see happen in this sentencing phase, but an interesting perspective from several we've spoken to today.
BANFIELD: And such a personal decision and for each and every one of those family members, it's their trial and it's for their loved one, or even for themselves if they were injured.
Ed Lavandera, excellent work. Thank you.
I want to bring in criminal defense attorney and CNN legal analyst, Danny Cevallos.
Danny, look, oftentimes we talk about what the jury has to decide on now for this heinous criminal and oftentimes are they going to go for the death penalty for the worst of the worst. But in this case, it's a bit of a reverse, because for the worst of the worst, he has already said he wants to die.
In fact, let me tell you what he said to a mental health expert back in 2010, "I'm paraplegic and I could be in jail for the rest of my life. However, if I die by lethal injection, I would still be a martyr."
I don't know if this military jury got this information. But how much leeway do they have to do what they want?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: A lot. Ashleigh, there is this persistent myth that somehow military courts-martial are more draconian than civilian counterpart courts, but nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to capital punishment in the military justice system. Believe it or not the military juries or panels as they're called have substantially more authority. They don't have -- they're not bound by mandatory minimums. They can fashion a remedy and to convict him of the death penalty, they must find unanimously, any one juror or panel member, can nullify that by choosing against the death penalty.
And because they have that power, there is that concept of jury nullification, we cannot tell the panel or the jury, that they have that power as attorneys in closing argument, but they do have that power and military jury panels as I've said before have even more arguably than a civilian jury. So it's very possible that they may decide to give him life and not the death penalty for that reason. After all, juries don't have to show their work.
BANFIELD: Right. And I actually wondered, look, if this panel all but one wants the death penalty and that one does not, it's that unanimity that ultimately gives them a life sentence and is that binding?
CEVALLOS: It's more than that. In fact, the panel must find, first, that there are aggravating factors. Second, it must find that the mitigating factors, if any, presented by the defendant, substantially are outweighed by those aggravating factors. And then, only then, do they proceed to the third stage.
And you're absolutely correct, that if one panel member does not want to give the death penalty, then in a military courts-martial, that death penalty cannot be given.
BANFIELD: All right. Danny Cevallos, it's good to see you. And thank you for your great analysis tonight. Appreciate it. Have a good weekend.
Still to come: a shocking truth about America. In 31 states, rapists that impregnate their victims can ask for visitation -- and get it. A victim in that situation is going to come OUTFRONT and talk about what it's like on the other side of that equation.
And George Zimmerman, a sighting in Florida yesterday, and look closely. He's seen visiting a gun manufacturer. Why are so many people upset about this photo and his right to bear those arms?
Then, we have a shout-out tonight, a confused marlin, these fishermen, fishing off the coast of the Dominican Republic when the blue marlin they were trying to reel in decided to come on in on his own, just jumped into the boat. Oh, amazing!
It was a big one, too, it weighed 350 pounds and that sphere-like snout almost hit one of the men on board. Maybe that was the point of the marlin. The shout-out goes to that fisherman and his quick ref reflexes, he was able to jump out of the way before being impaled by the marlin's sphere. And, unfortunately, though, and I hate this part, that fish died from his injuries, but it was given to local fishermen.
BANFIELD: How could a rapist get visitation rights for the child born of that rape? This is a question that we've been asking, and tonight we speak exclusively with a woman who is now fighting this fight to keep her attacker from having any interaction with their child.
David Mattingly sat down with this woman who asked us not to use her name.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just crying all the time. I just felt really alone. I didn't know what to do.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At age 14, she was raped by an acquaintance who was 20. Left pregnant and emotionally devastated, her life was turned upside down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was also scared to, like, disappoint everybody.
MATTINGLY (on camera): Did you give any consideration at all to ending the pregnancy?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very involved in the church. I went to private Christian school. So I immediately knew that I wasn't going to end the pregnancy just because that's not part of my faith.
MATTINGLY: What did it mean to you to have this baby?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew -- as soon as I had her, I knew that I wasn't alone anymore, that I wasn't fighting this just for myself, that I had to save her, too.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Now, 19, the single mother still wants to guard her identity, and she says she's afraid of being victimized again, this time by the courts. The child's father pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 16 years probation, and ordered to pay child support until the child is 18.
But then in a strange twist, a judge sent this criminal case to family court, where the man is now asking for visitation rights.
Wendy Murphy is the mother's attorney.
WENDY MURPHY, VICTIM'S ATTORNEY: He can whenever he wants file a motion regarding visitation, the child's education, the child's health care, whether my client gets to move out of Massachusetts.
MATTINGLY (on camera): So this means that this man is going to be a part of your life and your child's life for years to come?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Under the court, yes.
MURPHY: He gets to then literally use the family court system to control his rape victim's life.
MATTINGLY: So the mother has filed suit in federal court to move the case out of family court back into the criminal system with hopes of preventing anything like this from ever happening again.
The state of Massachusetts is now in the position of having to defend a rapist's parental rights to the child he fathered.
MURPHY: This case was ordered to be transferred to family court by a judge who found a man guilty of rape. That's what makes this case so barbaric.
MATTINGLY: Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, whose office will handle the case, declined to comment. The attorney representing the father of the child did not return our calls -- Ashley.
BANFIELD: All right. David Mattingly reporting for us. Thank you.
George Zimmerman is back in the headlines tonight because he turned up at a gunman manufacturer in Florida yesterday. This comes a month after he was acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin.
The gossip Web site TMZ got this picture of Zimmerman. In it he was posing with someone he says was an employee of the gun maker, and while Zimmerman has every right to buy as many guns as he would like in America, would it perhaps be smarter if he'd laid low for a little bit, instead of visiting a gun manufacturer and then, of course, smiling for photos as well. Or is there something else you can read in this photo, like I'm getting a gun, cut it out with the death threats?
OUTFRONT tonight, radio host Stephanie Miller, and CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson.
SO, Ben, I'm going to start with you.
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
BANFIELD: Which side of that argument do you come down on?
FERGUSON: I think if you just Google or you go into Twitter right now and you put in the search term kill Zimmerman, today in the last hour and a half, there were more than 150 "I'm going to kill George Zimmerman" comments, "If I see that guy, he's a dead man", and things like that.
So, I think if you're Zimmerman, he'd probably said, I'm going to let people know that I am still able to defend myself -- because some people may not realize that. He was not convicted of a crime. He did not lose his right to protect himself and he's a marked man in society today, and you can see it by the notes online.
So I don't blame him at all for going and getting a gun, and also, letting people know that he has one because there are genuinely people in this country that want to kill him, and that's really sad.
BANFIELD: Stephanie, isn't that argument fair? He is targeted. He is in hiding. Do you see this as gloating or do you see this as protecting himself?
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO HOST: You know, I would think that Trayvon Martin's parents think that looks pretty insensitive and pretty gloating. And, you know, many, many of us in this country actually think he got away with shooting an unarmed teenager and belongs in prison and not buying a gun, particularly like from what I heard --
FERGUSON: That's why he's buying a gun.
MILLER: A bigger gun, a compact shotgun. I'm sure that's going to end well.
FERGUSON: For home defense --
BANFIELD: You know what guys? Let's show the picture. Look at the picture --
BANFIELD: Look at the gun. It's a Kel-Tec KSG. It's made by the same manufacturer of the gun that was used to kill Trayvon Martin. That is one menacing-looking Hollywood-like weapon. So, Ben, there's a good point that I think Stephanie is making there. This weapon is this really the one that's needed for home protection, or is the weapon that says, "Don't mess with me"?
FERGUSON: This gun is specifically designed for home protection. And if you read about the gun and how it is marketed online or by the manufacturer, it is specifically made for close quarters home protection. This is not a gun that you conceal carry out in public. This gun would be against the law to use in this way. So, this is a home defense gun.
But Stephanie made my point for me. She's a classic example of someone who thinks he's a murder and should be in prison. And that is exactly the view point of a lot of people that want to go out there and kill him because they want to take justice into their own hands, which is exactly why this --
MILLER: Oh, excuse me --
FERGUSON: -- man who, by the way, has a wife and a family.
MILLER: I'm sorry, Ben. Did you just say -- did you just say take justice in your own hands? You might want to talk to George Zimmerman about that --
FERGUSON: George Zimmerman -- this -- but again --
MILLER: Told not to get involved and shot an unarmed teenager --
FERGUSON: Stephanie --
MILLER: He exactly who should not have a gun --
BANFIELD: All right. I have to leave it there, guys. I think it's a great debate and I think you both make strong points.
Stephanie Miller and Ben Ferguson, thank you both for that. Disturbing all around if you really think about it.
Still to come, more than two decades ago, something really amazing happened that changed our lives forever. It's a birthday of sorts. You're really going to know whose birthday it is and why everybody is affected by it, next.
BANFIELD: OK. Quick show of hands -- how many of you were born after August 23, 1991? I'm so kidding but those of us who actually are younger than the World Wide Web, it is true. On this day 22 years ago, the Web was born and the inventor of the Internet Tim Berners- Lee, actually not Al Gore, invited the public to access the World Wide Web on the Internet.
The web was developed at the CERN Institute in Switzerland beginning in 1989, and prior to what's known as Internot (ph) Day, kind of weird, the Web was only available to the global participant in something called the Internet Engineering Task Force.
Since then the web has become an increasing important part of our lives because the Internet economy accounts for 4.7 percent of the United States GDP. The Boston Consulting Group is predicting that the Internet will grow 10 percent a year through 2016 in the G-20 countries and nearly twice as fast in the emerging markets.
Right now, about 2.7 billion people use the Internet all around the world, which brings us to tonight's number: 1 billion. The 1 billion Internet-enabled smartphone was just sold. The World Web Wide is amazing and so powerful and fits right into the palm of your hand. Happy Internot day, everybody.
"AC360" starts right now.